A month into the spring semester, and school members have not yet reached an agreement regarding the 16th presidential nominee election. In an effort to come to an agreement, members are debating through four-way consultative group meetings, discussing their concerns and positions.
The age limit for nominees and voting ratio continues to cause disagreement among the members. During the seventh four-way meeting held on March 8, Starting Ewha shared the results of a student survey regarding the eligibility of the nominees. Out of the 3,000 surveyed, the “majority of students” as disclosed by Starting Ewha, suggested that the age limit of 61 should not be applied to the presidential nominees. Starting Ewha emphasized that this response should not be treated lightly, and that it should be incorporated in the negotiation process. Both the staff and graduate school representatives also agreed the age limit to be unnecessary. However, the alumnae body opposed, stating that suddenly changing of the age limit regulation may seem like an effort to include certain nominees.
Regarding the voting ratio, the professors acknowledged that equal parts for all parties could be understood as an effort to achieve a democratic system in the school. However, as the president of a university is not a mere representative, but holds immense responsibility as a leader of education and research, an equal voting system would not be suitable for selecting the president.
Starting Ewha argued that students should be treated as equal members of the school, and be given an equal proportion of the votes. They further expressed their disapproval of the panning dialogue where students seemed to be asking for approval, instead of being in a lateral position with the professors. Representatives of the graduate school mentioned that parties other than professors will not be able to exert much power in narrowing the nominees down to the last two candidates with the current voting ratio.
While Starting Ewha speaks out on behalf of undergraduates, students are also making efforts to make their voices heard.
On March 17, when the meeting for professors were held, students gathered in front of Ewha-POSCO building, picketing with signs. The protest was later moved to Lee San Bong Hall in Ewha Campus Complex as the meeting venue changed. The students were given 20 minutes to speak up, during which the tast force team spoke on behalf of students and others chanted for several minutes.
Besides the protest, students also posted stickers to raise awareness. “We’re not finished” stickers can be found all around campus. They amplify the complaints of students towards the election process. In some places, the stickers make an angry face or the Channel logo, satirizing the former vice president’s private use of the school budget.
“As students cannot directly participate in the talks for negotiation, our channels to express opinions are quite limited,” commented a junior in the Division of International Studies. “I think putting up those stickers was a very good alternative, especially the ones which were arranged to express a particular object. It is a witty and effective way to get the message across.”